The importance of aftercare in addiction treatment should not be underestimated.
Each year, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) publishes data from NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health. From 2019 to 2020, there was a sharp increase in both drug addiction (substance use disorder) and alcoholism (alcohol use disorder. Regrettably, fewer than 10% of the 40 million U.S. adults with addictions engaged with professional treatment in 2020.
Improving access to addiction treatment and enhancing the quality of the aftercare offered to those with substance use disorders could help to reverse the spiraling trend of addiction in the United States.
NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports that addiction is a chronic and progressive brain condition. Addiction is characterized by relapse and the compulsive use of addictive substances despite obviously negative outcomes. While there is no cure for alcoholism or drug addiction, both conditions typically respond favorably to treatment with:
- Clinical detox
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Psychotherapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
- Individual and group counseling
Those requiring treatment for addictions to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs have the choice of inpatient treatment (also known as residential rehab) or some form of outpatient treatment.
Aftercare is a term used to express the ongoing care you receive after you leave drug or alcohol rehab.
These are the most common forms of addiction aftercare treatment:
- Outpatient therapy
- Counseling (individual and group)
- Sober living homes
- Peer support groups
- Drug and alcohol rehab alumni programs
What Is Aftercare Treatment for Addiction?
All those in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism would benefit from a coordinated aftercare plan.
Addiction aftercare plans have three primary goals:
Maintaining recovery from substance abuse.
Finding and implementing ways of avoiding relapse.
Creating a purposeful life with rewarding interpersonal relationships.
All the best addiction aftercare plans are highly personalized because everyone has a different experience of addiction. A typical plan may include:
- Stepping down from residential rehab to an outpatient program.
- Participating in the alumni program of the treatment center you attended.
- Attending ongoing counseling sessions.
- Engaging with peer support groups.
- Staying in a sober living home.
- Taking advantage of your sober support network.
Addiction treatment aftercare is vital because so many people struggle with the transition from rehab into daily living. Addiction has high relapse rates of between 40% and 60%, comparable to relapse rates of other chronic and incurable health conditions.
Aftercare is crucial because so many people experience difficulties when they transition from rehab into sober living. The risk of relapse is greatest during the first few months after someone leaves rehab. Relapse rates of 40% to 60% are comparable to relapse rates of asthma, diabetes, and other chronic, incurable health conditions.
Developing an aftercare plan tailored to your needs in the early phase of recovery can enable you to remain abstinent without relapsing.
Here’s what to expect in these five core areas of addiction aftercare:
- Outpatient therapy
- Sober living homes
- Ongoing counseling and therapy
- Alumni programs
- Support groups
1) Aftercare: outpatient therapy
If you do not feel ready to move directly back into everyday life after inpatient rehab, you may find it useful to step down to a less intensive form of care.
These are the most common forms of outpatient programming:
- OPs (outpatient programs): A traditional outpatient program involves 1 or 2 hours of therapy sessions conducted in an outpatient setting at a drug and alcohol rehab.
- IOPs (intensive outpatient programs): IOPs involve 12 to 15 hours of therapy sessions scheduled on weekdays. Group counseling is the core component of intensive outpatient treatment. Programs last from a few weeks to a few months.
- PHPs (partial hospitalization programs): Bridging the gap between inpatient and outpatient treatment, PHPs are full-time programs involving 30 to 35 hours of therapy sessions each week. In addition to group counseling, you will have individual counseling sessions, allowing you to work closely with a therapist to unpack the specifics of your addiction.
2) Aftercare: sober living homes
A sober living homes, otherwise known as a sober living community, is a residential facility intended for people in addiction recovery.
Those with volatile home environments pursuing aftercare and outpatient treatment for addiction find sober living communities offer a stable and distraction-free environment.
You will be expected to remain substance-free and to obey all rules of the sober living community.
3) Aftercare: ongoing counseling and therapy
Whether you have an addiction, a mental health disorder, or a co-occurring disorder, ongoing therapy and counseling may be an integral part of your aftercare plan.
As you become more stable and confident in recovery, you may reduce the frequency of sessions.
The most utilized therapies for addiction treatment are:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
- Experiential adventure therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Holistic therapies
4) Aftercare: alumni programs
Taking part in the alumni program offered by the drug or alcohol rehab you attended will enable you to build a sober support network.
Additionally, alumni programs offer:
- Employment assistance.
- Educational and vocational resources.
- Access to counselors or therapists.
5) Aftercare: support groups
Many people in ongoing addiction recovery find that peer-support groups provide invaluable aftercare.
The most common examples of support groups are:
Aftercare Following Drug or Alcohol Rehab
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process that may not always be linear. As you start creating and maintaining new routines and relationships, you should find the process becomes easier to manage,
Here are some simple aftercare steps you can take after completing an inpatient or outpatient treatment program for addiction:
Aftercare: month 1
- Create and stick to a schedule.
- Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Write a recovery plan outlining specific steps you can take to achieve your goals.
- Learn your personal triggers for addiction and use healthier coping mechanisms than substance use when confronted with everyday stressors.
- Establish a reliable sober support system.
- Find a counselor or therapist near you.
- Assess the suitability of support groups in your ongoing recovery.
- Prioritize maintaining a positive and supportive living environment.
Aftercare: months 2 and 3
- Speak with a career counselor about your professional goals if you require guidance in this area.
- Engage with support groups if you feel this form of aftercare is beneficial.
- Try some new hobbies.
- Attend all scheduled therapy and counseling sessions.
- Maintain a recovery journal so you can chart your goals and milestones and better avoid triggers and temptations.
Aftercare: months 3 to 6
- Celebrate important milestones in your recovery.
- Start repairing relationships damaged by addiction.
- Develop financial goals for the short-term and long-term.
- Create a five-year plan and a ten-year plan.
- Place more focus on pursuing long-term goals.
- Help others recovering from addictions.
- Seek new ways of spending your time.
Relapse at any stage of recovery does not indicate that treatment failed. Instead, relapse suggests that your aftercare plan needs adjusting. Reach out to your treatment team and sober support system and do not lose motivation.
Addiction Treatment and Aftercare at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers
Here at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers, all treatment programs for addiction and mental health disorders help you from detox to discharge and beyond.
Choose from treatment at the following levels of intensity on ASAM’s continuum of care:
- Supervised medical detox
- PHP (partial hospitalization program)
- IOP (intensive outpatient program)
Regardless of the treatment program you select, you will have access to a personalized combination of evidence-based treatments, including MAT (medication-assisted treatment), proven effective for the treatment of opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders.
Studies show that intensive outpatient treatment is equally as effective as residential rehab for treating most mild and moderate addictions. Engaging with outpatient therapy also offers you a more affordable and flexible approach to addiction recovery.
Addiction has high relapse rates, so your treatment team will ensure you have a robust aftercare plan and relapse prevention strategies in place to maximize your chances of sustained recovery. Contact us online just here or call admissions at (877) 679-2132 for immediate assistance.